QualiA – Chapter 40: One problem over and… ⑤

Reigokai: Happy New Year once again guys!

You guys already knew that there would be a double chapter release because of my blunder yesterday. It was supposed to be a gift, but I messed up. I ended up blowing the surprise factor, which I consider is one of the nice seasonings of a gift. And so, I decided that I will still get the surprise out anyways!

So, surprise! Double chapters right on the next day!!

I really want to thank everyone for the support until now! And an extra thanks to the patreons that gave me an additional hand. Not to forget the awesome readers that have been sticking for basically years with me. Thanks a lot to all of you guys!

Here’s hoping for another awesome year!


Peeking my face out from the alley I teleported into, I check my surroundings just in case.

Immediately after teleporting, I erased my presence with Intangible, so there’s no real need to mind the surroundings, but you know what they say, negligence is your worst enemy.

…Oh, is it that?

There wasn’t that much distance from the alley to the well, so I was soon able to see it.

There’s leather armored men standing around the well. They are most likely from the city guards. Judging from the fact that a person in the area came to them and told them ‘thanks for your hard work’, those two are not some dangerous people.

“Who was the one that put poison in the well’s water?”

“No idea. But the way they do things is dirty.”

“Yeah, unforgivable.”

While listening to the conversation of those two, I pass by their side, and peek inside the well.

Deep in the dark well, I could see water surface swaying slightly. Just that simply looking at it, it doesn’t look like it is poisoned, and it doesn’t let out any strange smell.

It is most likely a tasteless and odorless poison.

If there were any difference, the people using the well every day would notice immediately.

…For now, let’s verify.

I say that, but if I were to draw water with the well bucket, it would catch the attention of the others. In that case, I will have to compensate with the tools I have at hand.

Well, I will only be using a simple earthen pot and a string though.

“But do you think they will be coming here again?”

“Are you talking about the culprit?”

“Yeah. Doing this messed up crap… When I heard that it was poison, it made me remember that incident ten years ago.”

“…Me too. That time my mother died… Just thinking about the possibility that the same thing will happen again…”

“Don’t say such a stupid thing. I won’t be able to take something like that happening twice!”

The voice of the two steadily get heated up, and grow teary.

“God dammit… Even if we find the culprit, I don’t have the ability to save the people that are suffering from the poison.”

“Y-Yeah… Anyone’s fine, I just hope something is done to solve it.”

While listening to the two who were grieving, I began to move the earthen pot into the well.

Sliding the string, in time, I hear the faint sound of landing on the water.

“Hm? Did you hear that?”

“What? Isn’t it just your imagination?”

This guy has some unexpectedly good ears. While being impressed by that, I draw up the pot with water in it, and hold it. The sensation of the wet pot was really cold, and it is a great temperature to moisten the throat.

However, this water has poison in it.

I don’t know what’s so good about doing something like this, but if we don’t catch them soon, the damage will just continue increasing.

…Now then, let’s check out the other wells.

I place the pot inside the Item Box, and after confirming the location of the closest well with the Invisible Window.

……

After that, I move to the wells of the affected districts in order, and gather the water.

I analyze each one of them, and finally, I was able to get fragments of the name.

[Decomp—Death—]

[A venom that was distilled and mixed with the Bulb of Detorashta and the Meat of the ——-.
After drinking it, it will cause generation of heat, muscle pain, and the appearance of rashes. After drinking it, the necrosis of the body will advance, and will turn the affected into a —— ——–.]

When I saw that, I honestly doubted my eyes.

“…Oi oi, what joke is this?” (Makoto)

What’s this about necrosis? The one who made this is totally crazy.

This is bad. This is incredibly bad.

At this rate, it will not only be a repeat of 10 years ago. Its gonna turn into indiscriminate terror!

[Activate – Akashic Library. Search: Bulb of Detorashta].

[Bulb of the insectivore plant, Detorashta.
Possesses a strong acidic poison, and just by touching it, it can melt your skin easily.]

A bulb having a strong acidic poison? As expected of a parallel world.

But the necrosis in the body is most likely caused by this bulb. The problem is the other ‘meat’ that has been established as an ingredient. If I can clear up just what kind of characteristic it has, I will be able to learn its details.

…Let’s return for now.

Gotta return to the castle, consult with the Queen, and share the information for this one.

☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆  

Castle – Queen’s room.

I teleported back to my room in the castle, and head to the Queen’s room by foot.

On the way, I passed by Erin who was running, but we simply nodded to each other and left just like that. The maids feeling bad and lying in bed have most likely increased.

I want to put Erin at ease quickly. I also want to rub those ears. A bit of my desires leaked there, but that’s a secret.

“—And so, how long will it take till the necrosis occurs?” (Caril)

“I don’t know. The information is incomplete, and it looks like there’s something more after the necrosis, but I don’t know what it is at all.” (Makoto)

Right after telling them the information of the ‘water’ that I managed to get, the Queen had her eyes wide in surprise and slumps over the sofa, and Niva-san who was by her side hurriedly supported the Queen’s body, but she was also showing an expression filled with surprise.

“First, aside from the water that’s been confirmed safe, make sure to have the people not drink that water no matter what.” (Makoto)

“Regarding that, there’s no issue… However, there’s a problem appearing from that.” (Caril)

“…Problem?” (Makoto)

Letting out a small sigh, the Queen heavily speaks.

“When the children that were in the infected district went to another district to ask for water, trouble happened, you see.” (Caril)

“A fight?” (Makoto)

“The assailant was soon seized, but the child that went to get water had a big injury. His arm was broken.” (Caril)

“Doubt is sprouting. Information deficiency is the reason, huh.” (Makoto)

“Yeah, there’s a past account with the event 10 years ago after all. Even before it was identified as a poison, there were already a variety of rumors going around. As a result, even unrelated children have suffered.” (Caril)

In the time while we were gathering information to reduce the damage, many speculations were spreading in the public, and it has turned into the current problem where they are being spoken as if it were the truth.

“Were you able to identify the water of the well as the infection source?” (Makoto)

“No. For now, reports say that only the people that have drunk the water have been infected. It looks like the symptoms have differences between individuals though. A number of people seem to have some sort of puss coming out from lacerations on their skins.” (Niva)

“Puss… There’s the possibility that the symptoms are growing worse.” (Makoto)

“Yes. If it is as Makoto-sama has reported, there’s the possibility that necrosis is beginning to happen, but I have never heard of a poison that causes necrosis in such a short period of time.” (Niva)

Niva-san furrows her brows with an agitated expression. Just as she says, the disease is progressing unexpectedly fast. I have heard of cases where necrosis can be caused to others. However, even I, who have dedicated myself to alchemy, am unable to remember something with this kind of composite-like symptoms, and I am trying to search with Akashic Library, but I can’t find any matching cases.

“Now that I think about it, is there someone from the city doctors that have shown symptoms of it?” (Makoto)

“No. Currently there’s no one of them infected.” (Niva)

“Then, there’s currently no worries of being infected by air and contact. We don’t have the full picture of the poison, so we can’t be relieved yet.” (Makoto)

“Yes. The doctors at the city are diligently performing treatments, but it doesn’t look favorable.” (Niva)

At a glance, the symptoms resemble that of a cold, but this is something caused by a poison, so the moment that was made clear, the treatment method was changed which was something recent, but since we don’t know the details of it, it is basically the same as not having any useful treatment methods.

“Well then, I will be going one more time.” (Makoto)

“Don’t push yourself.” (Caril)

Answering with a ‘yeah yeah’, I leave the Queen’s room.

I open the Invisible Window, and confirm the movements of the Markers, but Erac and Makirus seem to have returned home.

It is currently past 6 p.m.

There’s knights and maids who are still working, but more than half are probably relaxing at their homes of the dormitories. The Markers are scattered here and there.

…What a pain.

While thinking this is the most paining time for surveillance, I check each one of them with the Invisible Window as I head to the cafeteria, and with energy on my back, I decide on heading out to patrol at night.

☆☆ ★★★☆☆  

The curtains of night had fallen, and the city was covered in silence.

Time is around 9 p.m. Aside from the sight of the knights and city guards, there doesn’t seem to be civilians walking around.

“Hey, are we really doing this?”

“We are.”

Within that night, there’s two small shadows moving around hidden with the night.

“Is this really okay?”

“I’m telling you it is. They said that this is necessary to save everyone.”

“T-That’s true, but…ah, wait, Onii-chan.”

The owners of the voices were a small boy and a girl that seems to be his little sister. The two were advancing in the dim alley with uncertain steps. They would move a few steps, check their surroundings, and advance again. The two were advancing while repeating this with their hands held, and in time, they arrive at their aimed location.

“Hey, Onii-chan.”

“Sshh! —Be quiet.”

Reprimanding his little sister who tucked his clothes, the boy peeked his head out from the alley and checked the surroundings.

“Let’s stop this. There’s something weird about this, Onii-chan!”

“No. We were told that this is something only we can do, right?”

“But…the auntie of today was kind of weird.”

“Shut up. If you are going to complain, just leave.”

“W-Waait.”

Brushing off the hand of his little sister that was trying to stop him from behind, he ignores his little sister that raised a cry, and while showing the highest of cautions, he slowly approaches.

Blending into the darkness of the night, he hides in the shadows of the buildings, and catches sight of the objective —the well.

(If I put this in…!)

Looking at the bottle in his hand, he holds it tightly.

What’s filling the bottle is a purple liquid that shines a faint light. If this liquid is mixed with the water in the well, he can save the people that are suffering from illness.

This boy has not ever been needed in his life. And the one relying on such a boy is the robed woman that has been showing lately.

She said: ‘You are the only one I can ask of this’.

She whispered this to the boy, and the boy was filled with excitement and joy.

This is something that only I can do…no one else can… With that sense of superiority, the boy was stirred.

‘I want to save the people that are suffering’. It is exactly because this boy had such a pure wish that he didn’t notice the abnormality in himself.

“Okay!”

“That’s as far as you go.”

The boy was going to turn around to the voice that he suddenly heard from behind, but his mouth was covered, and in the next instant, his consciousness is shaken.

“…Good grief. What are you doing using children? That damn granny!”

Right before his consciousness cut off, the boy heard an annoyed voice. Noticing that he had failed, he felt somewhat mortified, but somewhere inside of himself, he also felt relieved as he let go of his consciousness.

  ☆☆ ☆☆ ★ ☆☆ ☆☆  

I catch the boy that had fainted, and grab the bottle he had in his hand.

“Okay, with this, it is finished.” (Makoto)

“Hey there, Nii-chan. Did ya finish?”

At that moment, a man in soldier attire called me while scratching his head. Then, he directs his gaze at the unconscious boy in my arms.

The man here is the city guard that watches over the well here. His name is Kairus.

I made contact with him around 1 hour ago, but I knew I would be treated as a suspicious person if I were to talk to him as if normal, so when I asked the Queen if there was anything to show my standing, she said ‘Now that you mention it, I forgot’, as she laughed and was advised to call myself as ‘Special Duty’.

Special Duty refers to a temporary position only allowed to people nominated by royalty in special cases like this one. As proof of this position, they are required to wear an armband that has the crest of the royal family, but once the period is over, it is an obligation to return it. Also, if you use the name of Special Duty in other things aside from your professional duty, it will be considered treason to the royal family, and in the worst of cases, lead to death sentence.

There’s people in the Guarders that are moving as Special Duty people, so I decided on borrowing that title.

“Children of the slums, huh… To think they would actually come.”

“Well, I understand how you wouldn’t be able to belief what a youngster like me would say.” (Makoto)

‘Indeed’, is what the man said while laughing, and I direct my eyes to the alley.

“I won’t do anything to you, so come out.” (Makoto)

I direct my voice to the darkness.

“—!!”

“This old man is making a scary face, but he is actually kind, so it is okay~.” (Makoto)

The man gets angry and says: ‘Who are ye calling an old man’, and I calm him down half-heartedly, and with my eyes still directed at the alley, I continue waiting.

After a while, a single girl in ragged clothes came out from the alley. She has the same kind of ragged clothes as the boy, and one can infer their lifestyle from it.

“R-Release Onii-chan!”

“I won’t do anything. More importantly, are you hungry?” (Makoto)

I take out bread from the tool bag that I use as disguise for my Item Box, and offer it to the girl.

“I-I don’t need it, so release Onii-chan!”

“I got no trust.” (Makoto)

While thinking about this tragedy, I lay the boy on the well, and the girl ran straight to the boy, glaring right at me as if intimidating me.

…This is reality, huh.

The children that have grown in the slums don’t trust people easily. More so when it is a situation where their life is at stake.

Thinking in that way, Makirus played it well. She won the favor of the children by giving out ‘bait’ to the children, so she can use them in this way without hesitation. It is an act that makes me wonder if she is actually a human.

“Then, I will give your brother his share as well.” (Makoto)

“D-Don’t need it…”

An innocent girl is being crazy scared of me… This is one saddening scene.

“—Hey, is my face scary?” (Makoto)

“Rather than calling it face, I would say it is your mask that’s scary. It looks like a crow after all.”

“Ah… Aaah, right.” (Makoto)

“You forgot?”

When I asked the man by my side because of how unreasonably scared she was, he retorted at me amazed.

Showing my face is NG <No Go>, so I have also changed my hair to silver, but I normally don’t use masks, so I forgot. Even if I call it a mask, it is a masquerade mask that simply covers my upper face, but it looks like the face of a bird. Moreover, it is black, and it is decorated with feather-like stuff.

“Onii-san ish not shcary~, there’sh no poishon in it~.” (Makoto)

“Stop that way of talking. Also, even if you are from Special Duty, stop that topic.”

“Oops, sorry.” (Makoto)

Apologizing to the man with a manly face, I direct my gaze to the girl.

Seeing that she is seriously scared when looking at us, and judging from the results of my observation, the effects on her seem to have been low. She must have had doubts on the actions of his brother. If it is to this extent, it is decently easy to undo the mind control. But the problem is the boy.

[Obedient Marionette].

I was interested in the conversation of the siblings while I was tailing them, so I used Vital Scan on them, and the result was that. It is the same magic that the personal maid of Yuichi -Mishta- tried to cast on him, but if I had to gauge the extent it is rooted into the mind of the boy, I would say that he is almost completely brainwashed.

…This stinks.

The beginning of all this tailing children was  when I was eating at the cafeteria and getting energy.

At that time, Makirus began to move.

It was around 7 p.m.

I was wondering where she was going at such a time, but she was heading to the slums. For some reason, her Marker disappeared a few times on the way which created a bad feeling in my chest, but for now, I left that to the side and decided on concentrating on what was happening.

Why the slums at this time of the night? While having this thought in my mind, I teleported and checked her, and what I saw was her giving out candies along with the bottles to the children.

I went: Bingo.

To think she would make her move in the same day that it was identified as a poison. Makirus must have gotten hasty. Anyways, this was truly a lucky happening.

After that, I added Markers on the boys and girls that had been given the bottles, and with the Special Duty position given to me, I acted together with the city guards and had the Guarders cooperate as well. There’s probably children being captured at places other than mine. There’s the possibility that the other children are also under the same brainwashed state, but if it is on the same extent as the boy in front of me, there’s only around ⅓ of possibility that I can recover them completely. I can’t look after them, so I plan on entrusting the rest to the others.

Giving out candies while brainwashing them and turning them into marionettes in the very definition of the word.

Using children for her own self-interest. What a truly disgusting woman.

“Sorry but, once the boy wakes up, please give this to him and have him drink it. Also, when questioning him, make sure to do it kindly, okay?” (Makoto)

“O-Okay, I don’t really mind, but what are you going to be doing?”

“My work is not done yet after all. I am heading to the next place. —I leave the rest to you.” (Makoto)

“Understood. There’s no knowing what’s awaiting, so be careful, okay?”

“Gotcha.” (Makoto)

Giving a light farewell to Kairus, I left that place with the glare of the little girl seeing me off.

Now then, looks like there’s the need for punishment in a lot of things. Ain’t that right, Granny?

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21 thoughts on “QualiA – Chapter 40: One problem over and… ⑤

  1. {Makoto has earned the titles [Child Abducting Jii-chan] and[Briber]}
    Did Makirus really think that people wouldn’t notice a child pouring in a mysterious purple potion in a public well?
    Actually, the real question should be why did anyone notice…
    Pouring something that is not a natural color into a public resource? Does that not arouse anyone’s suspicion?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oof. Using kids? I mean, we should’ve expected this, but it really is quite disgusting.

    But a zombie virus? We totally called it! It’s a zombie virus! I’ll give her credit on that. That sounds cool.
    …Oh dear.

    Liked by 1 person

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